Monday, February 20, 2012

This will not be a cancer blog... okay?

But. The "C" word has invaded our lives. There's some of you who might still check this and might only get this news if I type the words here. And, well, if it were you, I'd want to know.

Several weeks ago, an MRI showed a large brain tumor on the front right lobe of my brain. I've had surgery which was deemed "successful," in that I'm alive, have brain function and the tumor - as far as it was visible - has been removed. Unfortunately, pathology shows that the tumor is a grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma. That's not the worst kind of brain tumor you can have, but it does have signs of malignancy. Grade 3s turn into grade 4s. And, to be honest, Grade 4s (statistically) kill you.

Oh, and you know what else I forgot to tell you? I'm pregnant. Oh yes, this situation is a wee bit complicated. I am 17 weeks pregnant with what appears to be a little boy. He made it fabulously through the surgery and has passed all of his prenatal tests with flying colors. And I thank God every day for the gift of life I have growing inside me.

I will need to begin radiation therapy in the next several weeks. The first step is healing from surgery. And there is a lot to be determined and talked through about how to protect Baby while we effectively treat me.

So, this is scary. I'm not scared of death. I'm scared of leaving my family. I kind of feel like they need me around. : )

Ok, I'm closing comments on this one. Not because I don't appreciate your words. The prayers and encouragement of strangers have been humbling and appreciated. But, because I'm needing to guard myself against a few things:

1) Because we live and exist primarily in the Christian world, there are a lot of "Christian" things to say. Some of things are just not true. God loves me, and He has great promises that I can rely on. But He has never promised my health, security or an easy day. He has never promised me that every prayer I pray (with as much faith as I can muster) will be returned with the answer I want. And, still I ask Him to heal me. I ask Him that I will stand next to Ben during every happy and sad moment in his life, and that I will be the one to have an opinion on my kids' boyfriends and girlfriends and micromanage their lives.

2) I need to guard myself against false encouragement. Everyone is quick to tell me how "great I'm doing." You all are so sweet! Well, to be honest, I'm lying on the couch. Which is fine. I'm pretty sure that's expected. I have like 100 stitches in my head and a large air-filled hole in my brain where a tumor used to be. I'm pregnant and my back hurts. I don't think I should be "handling" this differently. But even kind words can send a message that there's a right way and a wrong way to trust Jesus when life is scary. I'm still working out what it looks like for me.

But I hope it means worship. Worshipping Him when there's nothing in it for me.  Well, there is, it's just not what I necessarily wanted :)

A few more thoughts: When you find a good man, marry him. When you say "in sickness and in health," mean it realizing that it can really, really suck and be really, really ugly. Gosh, I need Ben right now. To get me a chicago-style hot dog from sonic. And to do a number of other things for me that are embarrassing and horrible and sweet and patient.

And when you get to 10 years, spend the money, use the frequent-flyer miles and go to Hawaii. Because you seriously have no idea what year 11 will bring.

And develop good friendships. Because your husband isn't the best one to pick out cute hair accessories or paint your nails.

This will probably be the last post here. Ben and I (with the help of good friends) have re-launched our family site, and you can get more info there. There's a sweet video update from him with more details and stuff. Thanks for your prayers for all of us!